☆☆➹⁀☆ 3.5 stars☆➹⁀☆☆
What it’s about:
No one ever disappears completely…
You leave for work one morning.
Another day in your normal life.
Until you come home to discover that your boyfriend has gone.
His belongings have disappeared.
He hasn’t been at work for weeks.
It’s as if he never existed.
But that’s not possible, is it?
And there is worse still to come.
Because just as you are searching for him
someone is also watching you.
Gone Without a Trace is Mary Torjussen’s debut novel. This psychological thriller started slow, but the twists and turns were quite unexpected and worth the wait.
The main character and narrator, Hannah, comes home with outstanding news from her most recent business trip. Unfortunately, her live-in boyfriend, James, is not present to welcome her home, and all of his belongings are gone. The eerie situation just gets creepier as the story progresses. Is James toying with her or trying to come back to Hannah? Is someone trying to drive her crazy?
Hannah’s an organized go-getter and rising star at work. This doesn’t make her completely likable to the reader or to her co-workers. Her downward spiral drew some sympathy from me, but after a while her endless obsession with finding her ex-boyfriend really did make her seem crazy. Even her best friend basically tells her to “get over it”. I didn’t get the impression that Hannah was an unreliable narrator however, that relevant perception is something you can’t usually assess until close to the end of the story. It was easy to question, along with Hannah, the strange occurrences after James left. However, it wasn’t easy to fathom why this driven woman would slack off both at work and at home.
The story really takes off in the second half of the book. More salient information is revealed, the plot pace picks up dramatically, and her disingenuous friends and their motives became more questionable with each turn of the page. It takes Hannah too long to start questioning her co-workers’ and acquaintances’ allegiances. When she does start to ponder the loyalty of her co-workers, she is already seems so unhinged that she comes off as a crazed conspiracy theorist.
The big thrills in Gone Without a Trace come to those who patiently stick with the slow-to-start book. I didn’t see the big twist coming, and it is really mind-blowing. Ms Torjussen has written a very unique take on the disappearing-partner premise. The early plot pace warrants 2.5 stars from me, but the major story developments are a solid 5-stars. The in-between was interesting and well written, but just didn’t grab me the way more intense thrillers have previously. Overall, Gone Without a Trace is a 3.5 star read for this fan of psychological thrillers.